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College Chronicles #1: Meet Jake, the Reformed Studier with a Daring Plan

This is the first blogisode of College Chronicles, a blog-based reality show in which we follow real students struggling to balance academics with the rest of their life. Click here for the full series archive.

Meet Jake

Jake* is a rising junior at Tufts, where he studies computer science. Defying the tradition of geekdom that permeates the major, Jake also plays for the Tufts Rugby team and enjoys partying as much as (if not more than) the average undergrad.

To date, Jake’s study habits have served him well. A believer in the How to Become a Straight-A Student method, he describes:

“[I use] a calendar to schedule out blocks of time, then make a time sheet to
follow for the day. When I am taking a liberal arts course, I use the quiz and recall method. I also use mega problem sets when taking a math or science course.”

A Rocky Start

Things weren’t always this smooth for Jake. In the preceding years, he experienced both extremes of the college academic experience:

My freshman year, I was all about the grind, and barely went out. I got a good GPA, but I pretty much had no social life and a botched activity sheet with only one activity that I later quit.

My next semester, I did the exact opposite. I tried to pledge the most party-hard fraternity on campus, joined the rugby team, took fewer classes and focused on my social life. And my grades plummeted that semester. So much that I had to stop pledging the fraternity to bring them back up.

Last semester, after I started really applying [the techniques from How to Become a Straight-A Student], I went out more than I did even in the fall of my sophomore year, took the most intense course load I’ve taken thus far and I wound up with a 3.8 for the semester, better than either my freshman fall or spring GPA.

An Ambitious Plan

Jake’s ambition for the new school year year is to push his new found skills to their limit. His goals for the semester:

  1. “I want to enjoy my classes a lot more.”
  2. “I want to be well-known in the CS department”
  3. “I want to be involved in one or two activities that I enjoy, possibly holding an officiating position in one of them. If I could fit in the time, I’m will start a business and manage that through the school year.”
  4. “I don’t want to have to turn down the opportunity to go out on Tuesday/Thursday/Weekend Nights because I had too much work to do.”

Stay Tuned…

Can Jake make the impossible possible, and realize this ambitious mixture of goals? Stay tuned this fall to find out how he fares, and, also, to see what happens after our mid-semester academic intervention.

* not his real name.

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